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Consumer Acceptability of Cucumber Pickles Produced by Fermentation in Calcium Chloride Brine for Reduced Environmental Impact
- Emily M. Wilson, Suzanne D. Johanningsmeier, Jason A. Osborne
- Journal of food science 2015 v.80 no.6 pp. S1360
- calcium chloride, consumer acceptance, consumer preferences, cucumbers, detection limit, environmental impact, fermentation, flavor, pickles, sodium chloride, tanks, taste, texture
- Fermentation of cucumbers in calcium chloride (CaCl₂) brine has been proposed as an alternative process to reduce the environmental impact of traditional, high salt fermentations. The objective of this research was to determine whether consumer acceptability of pickle products would be impacted by fermentation and storage of cucumbers in CaCl₂ brine. Cucumbers were fermented and stored with 0.1M CaCl₂ or 1M sodium chloride (NaCl) in open‐air, 3000 gal tanks at a commercial facility and processed into hamburger dill chips containing 0.38M NaCl. Cucumbers fermented in CaCl₂ required additional desalting to reduce CaCl₂ concentrations to that of current products. Consumers (n = 101) showed no significant preference for pickles from different fermentation treatments, whether stored for 2 mo (P = 0.75) or 8 mo (P = 0.68) prior to processing. In contrast, NaCl fermented pickles were preferred over CaCl₂ fermented pickles stored for 10 mo and desalted only once (P < 0.01). A series of preference tests indicated that the taste of CaCl₂ was not the factor affecting consumer preference, and the 50% detection threshold of CaCl₂ in dill pickle chips was found to be 61.8 ± 7.6 mM, indicating that processors could potentially use CaCl₂ fermentations with a single desalting step. Consumer liking of flavor (n = 73) was not influenced by fermentation in CaCl₂ or by 23 or 35 mM CaCl₂ in finished products (P > 0.05), but variability in texture decreased consumer liking (P < 0.05). Although promising, individual fermentation variability and texture quality of CaCl₂ fermented products should be further evaluated prior to broad implementation of this process.